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Hughes, Steve: Once We Were Part Two

Steve Hughes is an English drummer who played in Big Big Train for twelve years having joined the band in 1991. After that it was on to The Enid for a couple albums, then joined Kino in 2004. He was away from music for a few years until releasing his debut solo album Tales From The Silent Ocean in 2014. He soon followed that up with his sophomore effort Once We Were Part One, his debut on Progressive Promotion Records. You can read that review on this site. Well, it didn't take long for the follow-up Once We Were Part Two and I have to say it is as enriching and rewarding a listen as its predecessor. On the new platter Hughes (drums, percussion, keyboards, bass, guitars, vocals) is joined by Angie Hughes (vocals), Katja Piel (vocals), Maciej Zolnowski (violin), Keith Winter (guitars), Dec Burke (guitars) and Richie Phillips (saxophone).

Part One is highlighted by the thirty-three minute opening track "The Summer Soldier". There is nothing nearly as long on Part Two and that's okay, it is just as good and just as progressive as well. Like Part One, Part Two is filled with beautiful melodies and stellar playing, a first class affair all around.

If you want to hear a near perfect example of the crossover prog genre just listen to the first track "The Game". The piano, saxophone and vocal melodies are sublime and the playing is gorgeous. The layered vocals and swells of keyboards, including organ with the saxophone bursting with clarity is as classy as it gets. The next track "Life's A Glitch" shows just how far Hughes has come as a multi-instrumentalist, especially in the keyboard department. The sound is crisp and clean and the shifting rhythms as tight as can be. This is really a great track that should appeal to pop rock fans as much as us proggers. The short instrumental "Propaganda Part Two" has an exotic Asian feel in the percussion and keys whereas "They Promise Everything" goes through transformations of softer piano and vocal led sections to pulsating electronic beats with shimmering keyboards and ripping guitar work. The longest track is the twelve minute "Clouds" with its various keyboard textures and melodic guitar work. Another great track for sure.

Steve Hughes is really starting to turn some heads in progressive rock circles and with music like this it is easy to understand why. If you have Part One this is no brainer. If you don't I suggest you remedy that situation. Highly recommended!

Track Listing:
1. The Game
2. Life's A Glitch
3. Propaganda: Part Two
4. They Promise Everything
5. There's Still Hope
6. She's
7. Spider On The Ceiling
8. Clouds
9. One Sweet Word

Added: April 15th 2017
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 1159
Language: english

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